How does a toxic boss affect employees and the bottom line?

An employee’s productivity is affected by the environment they work in, and their boss is a major factor that determines whether their work environment is good or bad.

According to Woohoo Inc, an organization that focuses on increasing happiness in workplaces across the world, bad bosses are the #1 reason why employees are unhappy at work. One survey participant explained that while they loved their job before their new boss joined the company, the new, toxic boss made it unbearable.

A study done by the University of Manchester’s Business School asked 1,200 participants from various job sectors across the world about their well-being and their relationship with their bosses. Those who worked for bosses with narcissistic or psychopathic personality traits had lower job satisfaction and were more likely to be depressed.

Abigail Phillips, lead author of the University of Manchester study, noted that bosses with these “dark” personality traits lack empathy and are essentially bullies, while she presented the findings at British Psychology Society’s annual conference in 2017.

In an interview with The Washington Post, Harvard Medical School instructor Jonathan D. Quick said that bad bosses lead to an employee’s increased risk of heart attack, high blood pressure, sleep problems and anxiety.

Harvard Business Review analyzed a study done by Gallup, and noted that bad bosses will negate other investments into bettering the workplace, while good bosses lead to an increase in employee engagement, customer satisfaction and revenue.

With the clear evidence that shows toxic bosses affect employee health, as well as the bottom line, HR departments need to be sure they seriously consider any employee complaints, rather than brushing them aside. Instead of having employees leave your organization due to a tyrannical boss, it makes more sense to fire the boss and find someone who can support those who report to them to ensure a positive work environment that will benefit everyone involved.